Chinese President Xi Jinping told African leaders his country would pump $60 billion into development projects, cancel some debt and boost agriculture under a three-year plan that will extend Beijing’s influence in the continent. Ivor Bennett reports.
(REUTERS, SABC) – Not quite a selfie moment, but the next best thing.
Delegates’ phones lighting up the opening of the China-Africa summit in Johannesburg, knowing this would be something to savour.
Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiling 60 billion dollars for development projects.
CHINESE PRESIDENT, XI JINPING,
“China-Africa relations have today reached a stage of growth unmatched in history, and open a new era of China-Africa win-win cooperation.”
There are many who count themselves as winners already.
Nigeria, for example, where evidence of Chinese investment isn’t hard to find.
Roads, railways and airports all built on loans from Beijing.
For whom there are also rich rewards
A fertile market for cheap exports and a key source of energy and raw materials.
The most recent winner though is South Africa.
The recipient of 6.5 billion dollars worth of deals.
That prompted its President Jacob Zuma to say relations were at their ‘best ever’.
And no wonder, says BGC’s Mike Ingram.
MIKE INGRAM, MARKET STRATEGIST, BGC PARTNERS,
“South Africa has had a very troubled time in recent years in terms of labour relations. The economy has struggled to grow much more than 2 percent. It also has a substantial current account deficit and certainly needs the inward investment.”
And not just that.
Falling commodity prices have hit several of the continent’s economies, making existing loan repayments to China a source of concern.
That some of the debt will now be cancelled is welcome news.